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REVIEW: Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side Metal Blade Records, 2006
Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side - cover art The first thing that I noticed about this CD was the cover (surprising I know). I must say two things instantly struck me about it: it’s a lot less busy than the band’s other album covers and that it does not include the proper warning. Amon Amarth is like a drug, and on their sixth album there is still no warning of this. Well Metal Blade, since you have a special edition of Shadows are Security that will be pimped endlessly, I’ll lend a helping hand:

WARNING- This CD may cause extreme neck spasms. Side effects also include a swinging of the arms, so do not consume near fragile objects. Finally, do not wield a hand-weapon under the influence of this product. Metal Blade cannot be held accountable for the resulting property damage.

The Norsemen are back. With Oden on Our Side has Amon Amarth returning to the top after the quite lackluster Fate of Norns. Does this mean that Amon Amarth has drastically changed their sound? Not a bit. There’s still a copious amount of melody. The guitars thrash, groove and crunch. There are even the occasional solos (see “Asator” and “Under the Northern Star”) that were lacking on the last album. The drums are heavy on the bass and ready to send you off to war. The bass is accessible and adds that necessary bottom end. Johan Hegg’s vocals are sturdier than a steel shield and as clear as the call of the Viking’s horn. And finally, the lyrics are about peace, love and friendship: the peace a Viking found in fighting to the death, the love a Viking has for war, and the Vikings lack of friendship with the Irish.

The album opens with the speedy “Valhall awaits Me,” and proceeds to continue its gallop through “Runes to My Memory” and “Asator.” These three tracks showcase a speed rarely heard on Fate of Norns, for then by track two the band had settled into a nice mid-paced (for death metal) groove that is pretty much unbroken until the closing “Once Sealed in Blood.” With Oden on Our Side is still heavy on the more mid-paced, epic numbers though, but the lyrical depth of “Hermod’s Ride to Hell” and the introspective nature of “Under the Northern Star” make these songs stand out. My favorite track on the album has to be “Cry of the Black Birds.” There’s a restrained atmosphere in the song that separates it from the more rousing anthems like “With Oden on Our Side.” It’s a call to arms that hints at despair, thus creating a more genuine feeling than singing about a chest-thumbing desire to kill.

Amon Amarth found their sound long ago, and we have to accept that. There are going to be melodic similarities between many songs, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that each song is unique, that each song has its own feeling. Amon Amarth seems happy to simply work on perfecting their brand of Viking melodic death. Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to absorb every note.

written by Kevin Penner

Find out more about the band

» Amon Amarth band details
1. Valhall Awaits Me
2. Runes To My Memory
3. Asator
4. Hermod's Ride To Hel – Lokes Treachery Part 1
5. Gods Of War Arise
6. With Oden On Our Side
7. Cry Of The Black Birds
8. Under The Northern Star
9. Prediction Of Warfare

Playing time: 42.19

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